Guarda do Embaú beach. Paradise is right here

By Lucas Moretzsohn

Paradise is right next door, they say. However, if you take a map of Brazil, you may find that there is a piece of paradise on the southernmost part of the country, in the state of Santa Catarina. The beach of Guarda do Embaú is located in the city of Palhoça, 50 km from Florianópolis. The place is known for its beautiful and unspoiled beaches and by the natural look that surrounds the city.

In the summer, the average temperature ranges from 25°C to 30ºC, cooling in the evening. It seems cold for the Brazilian coast, but not for the country’s southern region. However, this less than tropical climate is not enough to prevent surfers and beachgoers from waking up early and diving into the sea.

Guarda do Embaú gives its visitors access to several beaches, each with its own peculiarities. To get to the beach that gives the place its name, one must cross the Rio da Madre, which, according to the locals, is the river that gives the region its magical feeling. The crossing can be made by boats that take five to seven people, walking or swimming, depending on the conditions. The beach is known for the waves that attract surfers from around the world.

Guarda Beach is no more than a strip of sand that separates the Rio da Madre from the sea, about 80 metres wide by 6 km long, ending in Praia da Gamboa. At the mouth of the river, on the left corner of Guarda beach, there are sandbanks where the water gets shallower, so children can play safely. Along the beach, there are beautiful sand dunes where people practice sand boarding, and even bum-skiers, are welcome.

Separated from Guarda beach only by the mouth of the Rio da Madre, is Evori beach, which gets its name because of its greatest attraction: the Evori Bar. This bar serves coconut water, snacks and açai, and it is the only commercial establishment on the small beach. You can get there through the mouth of the river on foot or by swimming, (which is recommended only under favourable conditions) or through the trail that begins in the village, the centre of the Guarda do Embaú.

Guarda do Embaú gives its visitors access to several beaches ….. known for the waves that attract surfers from around the world.

After the Evori beach, visitors encounter the Pedra do Urubu trail, a path that requires some fitness, as it is composed of large stones. At the end of the trail, is the Vale dos Cogumelos, a path that connects the stones to Prainha. The look of the valley is not to be missed for nature lovers. It is where the green of nature meets with the crystal blue sea and the clear blue sky.

Prainha is a nearly deserted beach, excellent for surfing. Since there isn’t any kind of shelter in the area, it is advisable to take a sun umbrella, snacks and water. Not forgetting, of course, to pick up your trash.

After so much walking, the ideal thing to do is to have lunch in the village, located on the opposite bank of the Rio da Madre. It is a welcoming place: mystical shops, juice and snack bars, clothing stores and oriental items. The town contributes to Guarda’s Zen lifestyle. As for good dining options, there is the Mexican Los Frick, serving tacos, burritos and quesadillas, the House of Oysters, which offers a varied menu focused on seafood, oysters au gratin, shrimp, fish stew and baked fish, and the Guardião do Embaú that, along with seafood also offers beef dishes. Most entrees are enough for two people.

To relax after lunch, some inns offer surfboard and bicycle rentals. A good path to follow is the main street of Guarda in the opposite direction of the sea. The final destination is Pinheira beach. The site has a more complete infrastructure with a pharmacy and a bank. On the beach, the sea is calmer, without too many waves, which is ideal for families.

Life is quiet in Guarda, but not dead. If the day is calm, the night is just the opposite. The bars, such as Tucas Bar and even Los Frick, are always open, with live shows, playing reggae, rock and Brazilian classics to liven up the crowd on the dance floor until dawn. After the shows, those who still want to have fun, stay by the Rio da Madre, where the party continues. And those who intend to wake up early to enjoy the beach go back to their lodgings.

The lodges in Guarda seek to provide the best for their guests, bringing peace and comforts of nature. Academia, has a complete health club, open not only to residents, but to guests as well. It is a little far from the centre, a five to ten minute walk. The rooms can accommodate three to five people and there is kitchen service available for those who prefer to shop in the market and have a home-cooked meal.

The Morada Natural Mystic, with its more rustic style offers duplex rooms, ideal for small families. Also with kitchen service, the place still has an outdoor area with a lake, barbecue area and parking. It is located near Academia, almost the same distance from the centre.

One of the most famous inns in Guarda, the Zululand, is the creation of model and actor, Paulo Zulu. It is furthest from the centre, and values privacy. This place offers more sophisticated services like swimming pool, wireless internet, restaurant, room service and beach service (towels and umbrellas). The bungalows can accommodate families of four.

No wonder Zulu decided to open his business in Guarda. The site is fascinating. Guarda manages to join together the ideals of peace and love with nature and fun. It’s like the locals say: “There is an implied energy in the environment; there are people who hear about it and there are other people who feel it.”